For the first four rounds of Dillian Whyte’s bout with Alexander Povetkin in August 2020, all was going to plan. Then, with just one punch from Povetkin, everything changed. Whyte had spent more than 1,000 days as the WBC’s mandatory challenger for the heavyweight championship but lost that status — and the WBC interim belt — when Povetkin landed a brutal uppercut that had Whyte out cold before he even hit the canvas.
The two men are now set to rematch on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, DAZN) at Europa Point Sports Complex in Gibraltar. Upsets in boxing are rarely left alone without the favored fighter given a chance to get right, after all.
Whyte was biding his time for a shot at becoming heavyweight world champion, an opportunity that was unlikely to come any time soon with a logjam of potential superfights in the division involving Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. But he seemed to be ready to remain in his position after knocking down Povetkin twice in the fourth round of their first meeting. It seemed the 41-year-old Povetkin was not destined to see the scorecards, let alone have his hand raised at the end of the fight.
Just 30 seconds into Round 5, Povetkin slipped a punch, dipped to the left and unloaded with an uppercut that sent Whyte crashing to the canvas to score the huge upset.
Povetkin has only lost twice in his pro career, both coming when he received a chance to fight for the world title. He first lost a decision to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 before being knocked out by Anthony Joshua in 2018. Another win against Whyte would keep Povetkin in the hunt for one final shot at world championship glory before he steps away from the sport.
This card may not be that deep, but it has some interesting fights for the U.K. fans to get invested in. Ted Cheeseman is back when he takes on James Metcalf in a super welterweight bout. Cheeseman, 25, has had a wild career over the last two years. He’s amassed a 1-2-1 record while challenging for the British and European super welterweight titles. Now, he takes on Metcalf for the once again vacant British super welterweight title.
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Plus, British welterweight prospect Chris Kongo is back when he takes on Michael McKinson in a featured bout. Kongo has amassed a 12-0 record with seven knockouts in his young pro career. He’s yet to step up in competition, however, and is still awaiting a true test in the ring. McKinson is a mild step up as he owns a 19-0 record, but has just two knockouts.
Fight card, odds
Dillian Whyte -360 vs. Alexander Povetkin (c) +280, WBC interim heavyweight championship
James Metcalf -175 vs. Ted Cheeseman +150, super welterweight
Chris Kongo -270 vs. Michael McKinson +220, welterweight
Fabio Wardley vs. Eric Molina, heavyweight
Erik Pfeifer vs. Nick Webb, heavyweight
Youssef Khoumari vs. Kane Baker, super featherweight
Campbell Hatton vs. Jesus Ruiz, lightweight
The reality is that Whyte is simply the better boxer in 2021. Povetkin landed a near-perfect punch in the first meeting, but boxing doesn’t often let a Cinderella story rest and mandatory rematch clauses mean promoters are able to quickly “set things right.” Whyte was handling Povetkin well through the first four rounds of their fight, though Povetkin had been doing some sneaky work to the body in the early rounds. Povetkin is absolutely a live underdog once again, especially with Whyte having big defensive liabilities as well as Povetkin being a legitimately good boxer. However, Povetkin is coming off a bout with COVID and is quite up there in years. Whyte can push the pace, work the body and break down Povetkin before a late stoppage — as long as he can avoid that “one perfect punch” again.